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Why planned U.S. troop cuts in Africa cause alarm

Haaretz - Thu, 2020-01-23 21:36
Extremist groups on the continent have set 'a record pace of activity in 2019,' experts warn

Israeli police gunfire left this Palestinian disabled. Now cops are back to harass him

Haaretz - Thu, 2020-01-23 21:05
After shooting Khalil Mahmoud in the head in 2015, disabling him for life, Israeli Border Police showed up in his home last week to summon him for questioning, no explanations offered

A prized Marc Chagall painting was stolen in the ’90s. It has resurfaced at an Israeli auction.

JTA - Thu, 2020-01-23 20:54

TEL AVIV (JTA) — “Where’s the Chagall?” asked a visitor to this city’s Gordon Gallery on a January morning in 1996, hoping to glimpse one of the prize lots being auctioned days later by the gallery.

The painting, titled “Jacob’s Ladder,” was prominently on display, but still a gallery employee walked the prospective buyer over. When they arrived at the work’s designated spot on the wall, all that remained was a bent nail. The Chagall was gone.

For nearly two decades, the painting remained missing. Now it’s on public view for the first time in 24 years, again as part of a pre-auction exhibition, this time at the Tiroche Auction House in Herzliya. The small, biblically themed canvas that will be offered for sale this week as Lot 99 is notably installed in a glass case in Tiroche’s showroom north of Tel Aviv, one of hundreds of works that are part of the auction house’s Israeli and International Art Sale.

The painting by the famed Jewish modernist Marc Chagall is roughly the size of a standard sheet of office paper. When it was stolen in ’96, Gordon Gallery owner Shaya Yariv speculated that it may have been smuggled out under someone’s raincoat.

“I think the painting is eating oysters in Paris or Moscow by now,” Yariv told the media at the time.

(The current gallery owner, Amon Yariv, said the incident was the only theft ever at the Gordon, which in 1975 held the first art auction in Israel.)

It’s unclear whether “Jacob’s Ladder” ever made it to France or Russia, but it was ultimately found in Jerusalem in 2015. When an elderly woman died in the city that year, she bequeathed the painting — never hung, and always stored in her vault — to her nephew.

“Nobody knew anything about this painting, even close family members,” said Amitai Hazan Tiroche, a third-generation auctioneer at the family-run auction house. “When [the nephew] came to claim it — on the one hand, it was a dream scenario because he inherited something that could be very valuable.”

The nephew approached a local art dealer who informed him that the work was likely a Chagall but he would need confirmation from Comité Marc Chagall, the organization founded by the Russian-French artist’s heirs to determine the authenticity of art attributed to Chagall. When the nephew approached the group, it immediately recognized the work as stolen and contacted the authorities.

Migdal Insurance, which paid the 1996 claim on the stolen Chagall, demanded custody of the painting and a court case ensued. A Tel Aviv court ruled in 2015 that the painting be transferred to Migdal following a precedent set by a 2003 Israeli Supreme Court decision. The High Court returned two stolen paintings bought in good faith at a Tel Aviv flea market to the U.S. government, which had paid an insurance claim on them after they disappeared in transit from New York to Tel Aviv.

“There aren’t a lot of cases like this,” Tiroche said. “It’s definitely one of the few cases in the Israeli art world.”

Migdal is now offering the work for sale to recoup the money it paid to the painting’s previous owner. The company’s desire to close the case likely explains the relatively modest projection for the painting of $130,000 to $180,000, nearly identical to what Gordon estimated as its worth 24 years ago.

The estimate doesn’t reflect the increase in value of Chagall works over the past two decades. Though sale prices vary according to the period of an artist’s career, subject matter and ownership history, among other variables, Chagall’s “Les Amoureux” sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2017 for $28.45 million — a record for the artist.

“If we were to follow absolute values, then Chagall’s prices have almost doubled over the past 20 years,” Tiroche said. “We want the opening price here to be relatively attractive to buyers in Israel and overseas because if the estimate is too high, people may decide not to bid. And also the insurance company wants to finish the saga of the money they paid out over 20 years ago.”

The opening bid at the auction, taking place this Saturday evening, has been set at $110,000.

Prospective bidders will have to figure out the provenance of “Jacob’s Ladder” for themselves. Though the general practice is to publicize the full provenance of art offered for sale, in part to prevent stolen works from circulating on the open market, the Tiroche catalog does not contain such information for the Chagall — information Tiroche described as “gossip-oriented” and unsuitable for inclusion in the catalog.

Besides, Tiroche said, everyone knows the story anyway. His principal concern is just ensuring the painting stays in the showroom long enough to make it to the auction block.

“The painting isn’t big, but now it’s also in a heavy, big frame,” Tiroche said. “This place is secured. Touch wood, in 27 years we haven’t had a single incident of theft or anything like that. Everything should be OK.”

The post A prized Marc Chagall painting was stolen in the ’90s. It has resurfaced at an Israeli auction. appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Of Herzl, Einstein, Chagall and George Kennan: Memories of working with YIVO’s librarians

The Forward - Thu, 2020-01-23 19:56
The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is the world’s preeminent center for the study of Yiddish language and culture.

Israeli lawmaker writes name of foreign leader she is meeting at airport on the back of her hand

JTA - Thu, 2020-01-23 19:26

(JTA) — Israel’s culture minister was apparently so worried that she would forget the name of the president of Argentina that she wrote his name in ink on the back of her hand.

Miri Regev greeted Alberto Fernandez on Wednesday after his plane touched down at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Fernandez, making  his first official overseas visit since taking office last month, is attending the World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

In photos of their greeting on the tarmac, the name written in Hebrew letters on Regev’s hand is plainly visible. In later photos, Regev covers the back of her hand with her sleeve.

Her cheat sheet captured the attention of Argentine journalists and, after the episode spread widely on social media, the Argentine public.

???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ???????? ?????? ??????, ???? ?????? ???? ?? ?????????

— ????? ??? Michael Shemesh (@shemeshmicha) January 22, 2020


The post Israeli lawmaker writes name of foreign leader she is meeting at airport on the back of her hand appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Netanyahu and Gantz to meet with Trump next week to discuss ‘prospect of peace’

JTA - Thu, 2020-01-23 19:17

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump will meet at the White House on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz to talk in part about Middle East peace.

Vice President Mike Pence extended the invitation at a meeting Thursday in Jerusalem with Netanyahu. The meeting would be to discuss “regional issues, as well as the prospect of peace here in the Holy Land,” Pence told reporters in Jerusalem after his meeting.

Unclear was whether Trump would unveil his long-awaited peace deal at the meeting. “Reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative,” Trump said later on Twitter.

Trump extended the invitation to Gantz at Netanyahu’s urging, said Pence, who is in Israel to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Allied liberation of the Auschwitz death camp from the Nazis.

“The United States and Israel are strong partners, and the Prime Minister’s visit is an opportunity to discuss our shared regional and national security interests,” according to a White House statement that also confirmed Gantz would attend.

On the same day as the meeting, proceedings on whether to grant Netanyahu immunity relating to corruption charges will begin in the Knesset.

The meeting will take place just weeks before Israel goes to elections on March 2 for the third time in less than a year. Gantz and Netanyahu each hope to break a deadlocked electorate, and both have said they would consider making permanent Israel’s control of the Jordan Valley.

Talk of annexation has ebbed, however, in recent days after Trump administration officials told Netanyahu that it would hamper the release of Trump’s “vision” of peace among Israel, the Palestinians and other Arab nations.

The post Netanyahu and Gantz to meet with Trump next week to discuss ‘prospect of peace’ appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Netanyahu, Gantz to meet with Trump next week to discuss ‘prospect of peace’

The Forward - Thu, 2020-01-23 19:17
Unclear was whether President Trump would unveil his long-awaited peace deal at the White House meeting.

Letter from Alabama: ‘Rabbi, will you take my dog when the Rapture comes?’

The Forward - Thu, 2020-01-23 19:14
It is too easy to think about our different religions as opportunities to compete and to dominate, or as kernels of truth that we must defend.

Neo-Nazi group wanted Virginia rally to start civil war, says court filing

Haaretz - Thu, 2020-01-23 19:04
Former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Jordan Mathews also videotaped himself advocating for killing people, poisoning water supplies and derailing trains

Trump White House again credentials website that called impeachment a ‘Jew coup’

Haaretz - Thu, 2020-01-23 19:01
The White House Correspondents Association confirmed to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday that the White House had credentialed TruNews for the Davos trip

Jesse Eisenberg plays Marcel Marceau in new film and says he feels connected to the famed mime

JTA - Thu, 2020-01-23 18:47

(JTA) — American actor Jesse Eisenberg said he was attracted to the World War II movie “Resistance,” in which he portrays Marcel Marceau, because he lost family during World War II from the same area as the late Jewish mime’s family.

The film, scheduled for release in late March, traces the story of Marceau after his family was forced to flee his hometown during the German occupation of France when he was 16.

“When I learned about this story, I think I really connected to it because it’s really the story of this artist kind of finding a way to use his work for the benefit of other people,” Eisenberg told People magazine. “I lost family during the war in these parts of Europe, Marcel’s father is from an area close to where my family is from and where my family died. For so many reasons the story was very potent.”

Marceau was recruited into the French resistance by his cousin, Georges. He began miming to entertain the Jewish orphans they were helping to reach Switzerland in order to keep the children quiet while they were escaping.

“The story is really about this performer Marcel, who is kind of like a fledgling performer doing one-man shows in small theaters,” Eisenberg told People. “And then when the war breaks out, he is asked to help entertain these kids who his cousin is saving and is reluctant at first but then grows to not only like performing for them, but he realizes that the way to save their lives is to use his art and to save them. It’s this really amazing story against the backdrop of some horrific world events.”

Marceau died in 2007 at the age of 84.

The post Jesse Eisenberg plays Marcel Marceau in new film and says he feels connected to the famed mime appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Ancient voice: Scientists recreate sound of Egyptian mummy

Haaretz - Thu, 2020-01-23 18:36
Researchers say they've mimicked the voice of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy by recreating much of its vocal tract using medical scanners, 3D printing and an electronic larynx
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